All Star Mom: Finding a Balance

This next All Star mom that has agreed to guest post for us, is a mother of three princesses. When I began working with her she was a mother of one and I was a newlywed. About 6 months later I was expecting our Sage girl and she was pregnant with her second. Gevenvive and Sage are a day apart. Janine was a few doors down from me and stopped by to visit on her way of checking out of the hospital. I was sad to say goodbye to her when she moved just a few months later. I sure wish we lived closer so our girls could be friends. Janine is such an eloquent writer and writes as honest as she is in her day to day relationships, which is one of the things I love about her. She claims motherhood has not come naturally for her, but she sure is an awesome mom! To read more of her story go on over and follow her at A Handful of Peanuts!


I had an interesting conversation with my brother a couple of months ago while kayaking on the Pacific Ocean. We had been talking about my family and how having kids has changed me, for good and for bad, and my brother interrupted the conversation to say, “Janine, do you know what I admire about Tim? He always has and always will put you first, before anything or anyone else, especially the kids.”

When I asked him if he thought I did the same for Tim, he quickly replied, “Not always. You put your kids first a lot.” At first, his comment struck me as direct and hurtful, but after some time and consideration, I realized he had a point, and I needed to change.

I have had three girls and one miscarriage in five years, and I have only been married for six years. My girls have come mostly unexpectedly, with the exception of my Genevieve, and I have had to assume all the motherhood duties and roles rather quickly. Motherhood has not come easily or naturally for me. I have had to work at it every single day.

I have always felt like I am up to my ears in spit-up, poop, paint/marker stains, muddy shoe prints so it was easy to fall into a routine of putting my children first. I felt like I had to do so much for them that my husband would just understand and appreciate all that I do for everyone, and while he does appreciate all I do, he too has echoed my brother’s words and asked me to remember him.

And so I started changing my routines and habits. For the past two months, I have put my husband first. When he comes in the door from work, I stop whatever I’m doing and walk over to him and give him a kiss. When his favorite football team is playing, I try and take the girls outside so he can enjoy the game without interruption. When I see his tired eyes from working 11-hour shifts, I offer to put the kids to bed, even though it is generally his duty. Aside from doing small things around the house, we have also started dating each other again this year.

Our goal is to go on one date each month, but we average two or three. We explore different things on our dates, and we try to satisfy each other’s interests. Our marriage is so much stronger than it was even three months ago just because we are putting each other first.

Family life is busy, and it can be overwhelming. As moms we have to accomplish a thousand little tasks each day, the least of which is maintaining a healthy marriage. I have been a stay-at-home mom for two and half years and have finally found a way to balance my husband, my kids, my chores, my part-time work and my interests, although I should admit that I am still working finding time to enjoy more of my interests.
I believe every home and family is built differently so my ideas are solely based on my experience, but I can tell you that they work. I do all my major chores before 8am, and I enlist the help of my older girls when any chore involves their room or bathroom. I read my books (whether they be of a spiritual nature or not) before I start my part-time editing job so that I educate myself everyday. I mostly work when the girls go to bed at night so that I can be with them when they are awake during the day, but I will admit that I do work during naptime if needed. Generally I make dinner while my girls nap, and I always do the dishes before the girls go to bed. I exercise four to five times a week during the hour between Tim’s arrival from work and dinner.

My life is in a constant state of motion. I rest when I can, but for the most part, I am always doing something. Every few months I have to assess my routine and change things as necessary. Recently, I felt like my life was off balance. After looking over my days, I realized I needed to distance myself from social media. I deleted my Facebook account because I found myself checking it too often, and once I started checking FB, I found myself checking my mail, my Instagram, the Internet, etc more than needed.

It was as if I gained my life back in one instant. Balance was restored. Life is all about checks and balances. If you are out of sync in your personal life, marriage, family life, church life, social life, I would encourage you to see what things you can do to find a balance. I truly believe I am the happiest when I am balanced.

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